As more businesses shift to a content-focused inbound marketing approach, the rise of brand communities has innovated how marketers approach their consumers.
Driving your marketing efforts with a strategic approach to content creation helps to foster a strong brand community. Mixing in curated and guest content allows for the community to coalesce behind common interests in one space to share ideas and insight related to the company’s mission, vision, product, and industry.
Now that we have figured out the basics of what content to write, how to get backlinks, and have a steady stream of traffic, it's time to move on to the new frontier: creating a community. But first, let's examine what exactly a content community is.
Michael Brenner of Marketing Insider Group lauds brilliant brand communities, “instead of projecting need for your product/service and value-driven content onto the customer and perpetuating the ‘us-them’ relationship, you’re dissolving boundaries and forming a ‘we’ experience – a community.” That is the precise target that G2’s content community is aiming for.
|This is part 8 of The Road to 1M Organic Sessions: A Content Marketing Case Study|
What’s a content community?
Think of a content community as a moat of security around your business, ensuring stability and allowing for a constant influx of fresh faces to your product offering. Expanding your community to multiple channels has been proven to drive effective return on investment:
- Reduced customer support costs – 49% of businesses with online communities report cost savings of 10% to 25% annually.
- Users who engage in a company’s community spend 19% more than those that do not engage. (University of Michigan)
- 77% of companies assert that building a community significantly improves brand exposure, awareness, and credibility.
Welcome to the rocketship
When I started at G2 in early 2019, I saw a partially-filled canvas of content and user-generated reviews forming a strong community of business professionals with a common goal in mind:
Learn. Grow. Reach your potential. Share your knowledge with the world.
It was behind that ethos that we began establishing our content community. The first step was to scale the team and increase our output. In under four months, we grew the team by over 260%, adding 19 additional content marketers.
The next step? Expand our offering by adding value with more insight and expertise.
Curating our community
In April 2019, G2 launched its Content Partnership Network, in which expert contributors in various fields across marketing, sales, development, and HR contribute to make G2’s content more informative and insightful. In turn, we created a community of experts to rely on at any given moment.
Our in-house team of writers leans on these experts to aide in covering a wider array of subject matter in complex arenas. Clear, inspiring expertise in our content creation leads directly to increasing our standards, creating a sense of symbiosis in the community.
G2 relies on industry experts to teach and inspire our community.
By automating much of the email correspondence with our partnership network, we scaled quickly, allowing our in-house team of writers to create more insightful content at a faster pace leading to an increase in total publishing of 300% in only five months. In the last two of those months, we have published over 200 expert tips, opinions, and best practices from key contributors across our partnership network.
Capturing the G2 vision and with the power of the crowd in mind, we launched our Guest Contributor Network in early June. Adding more value to our Learning Hub with long-form guest articles from experts in their field was our next step to building our content community. Upon launching, we were inundated with potential contributors looking to reach our nearly 1.5 million monthly viewers.
Guest posts from industry experts have enabled G2 to cover more diverse topics.
The feedback was overwhelming and humbling at the same time. Our contributors were starting to sing our praises while driving ROI to their organizations. Marketing Strategist Brea Weinreb stated that 99Designs saw a “good amount of referral traffic and even some sales coming from G2 since we started engaging with G2’s community via the Learning Hub.”
It was then we realized that we were not just building a community of contributors and guest writers, we were creating evangelists and influencers on behalf of G2. We had to begin supplementing this community across multiple channels. Email was the first place to start.
Given that 58% of consumers say they prefer to be contacted by email from a brand and consumers are 2x more likely to sign up for emails rather than interacting with your company on Facebook, it was a clear decision to begin establishing email as a viable channel for G2’s Learning Hub. The right content delivered to the right audience at the right time will lead to success.
By implementing opt-in opportunities like fly-ins, exit intents, and gated downloadable assets, we grew our email subscriber list by 650% in less than three months. We found that gating valuable assets like YouTube banner templates, color theory infographics, and even Snapchat Trophy Cheat Sheets led to email conversions ranging from 2 - 10% of organic visits. While our email efforts are in infantile stages, the goal is clear: enhancing the world’s premier community of learners across multiple channels.
The next episode
As we continue to maximize channels across our content community, we’re emphasizing tailored customization by the reader. By leveraging our engagement data & analytics, we can better understand our user’s interactions on the Learning Hub, we can better strategize our content going forward and begin to tailor the experience to each and every user’s preferences.
This expansion will include three new curated newsletters; highlighting growth, management, and tech, respectively. Each edition will feature a new curator/creator and promote engagement between our in-house writers and content community, providing a conduit to G2’s vision of helping business professionals reach their potential.
In addition to enhancing our email offering, G2 plans to supplement audio and visual forms of content while keeping the learner first. According to Podcasts Insights, there are over 750,000 podcasts available to consumers across the world. That number increased by over 200,000 in the last year alone. It provides a unique challenge, one that will require a lot of inspiration from our community.
Engaging our community on social media is in the near future as well, with the launch of #G2Fireside, G2’s very own Twitter chat set to launch in the coming weeks. It will embody the mindset that lies at the core of the organization and its founders: do it live.
While we have a lot of work to do in developing G2’s content community, I can assure you we have the team to do it. As Levi Olmstead, Head of Community & SEO at G2 aptly stated, “We will continue to do what works through past experiences, data, and competitor analysis - and we will continue to be a world-class content team.”
Don’t wait, join the world’s premier community of learners today.